House of Strangers

Saturday, 21 May, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

House of Strangersi is an interesting bag. Much of the contextual awareness required for it to make any sort of sense is now lost, but let's try nevertheless.

Gino is a barber, who ran off to the New World, specifically because in the Old World, if your father was a barber, you were going to be a barber. In the New World, who knows.

He has four sons, with a woman that is the Old World personified. They turn out rotten : a poltroon, a dimwit, a faggoty narcisist and... well... a lawyer.

The iconic scene defining Gino happens in a courtroom : he tells everyone, and even you, Mr! [judge] that

You shut up! Is a free country! I do what I think is right! And what I think is right is right! I don't care what anybody say! Not you! Not you! And not you, mister! I, Gino Monetti! No one tell me what to do!

Ecce homo. Apud Pitrèii,

La mafia non è setta né associazione, non ha regolamenti né statuti. Il mafioso non è un ladro, non è un malandrino; e se nella nuova fortuna toccata alla parola, la qualità di mafioso è stata applicata al ladro, ed al malandrino; ciò è perché il non sempre colto pubblico non ha avuto tempo di ragionare sul valore della parola, né s’è curato di sapere che nel modo di sentire del ladro e del malandrino il mafioso è soltanto un uomo coraggioso e valente, che non porta mosca sul naso, nel qual senso l’essere mafioso è necessario, anzi indispensabile. La mafia è la coscienza del proprio essere, l’esagerato concetto della forza individuale, unica e sola arbitra di ogni contrasto, di ogni urto d’interessi e d’idee; donde la insofferenza della superiorità e peggio ancora della prepotenza altrui. Il mafioso vuol essere rispettato e rispetta quasi sempre. Se è offeso non si rimette alla legge, alla giustizia, ma sa farsi personalmente ragione da sé, e quando non ne ha la forza, col mezzo di altri del medesimo sentire di lui.iii

To add Falcone's point,

Se vogliamo combattere efficacemente la mafia, non dobbiamo trasformarla in un mostro né pensare che sia una piovra o un cancro. Dobbiamo riconoscere che ci rassomiglia.iv

Now then - the father, in America, has four sons and all four are rotten. The first three'd have been just as rotten in the Old World as in the New, which is why Old World stories usually limit themselves to three sons. The fourth however... he's modern, modernized, he's adapted himself. And that's just as bad, even though the father doesn't have the eyes to notice, the senses to sense - much like the now extinct penguins lacked the sense to fear gunshot.

He loses himself, and then dies. He writes a lot before he dies, but it doesn't take. His wife, who loves him perfectly, has nothing to say to him. Not anymore. She knows she's failed, and that's all there was, for her. She withdraws in silence, and prayer.

The end.

———
  1. 1949, by J. L. Mankiewicz, with Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward. []
  2. G. Pitrè, Usi, costumi, usanze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano, Palermo, 1978, II, p. 292. []
  3. Mafia is neither sect nor association, nor has rule or statute. The mafioso is no thief, nor a blackguard ; and if in the new spin of the term mafia-ness was applied to the thief, and to the blackguard, it's because the public had not the time to reflect on the value of the term, nor bothered to find that in the manner of the thief and the blackguard, the mobster is merely a courageous, valliant man, unconcerned and unworried, in which sense being a mafioso is necessary, indeed indispensable. Mafia is the consciousness of one's own being, the extreme conception of individual force, one and sole arbiter of any contrast, of any clash of interest or idea ; where the intolerance of another's superiority is worse still than oppression from outside. The mafioso wants to be respected and almost always respects. Offended, he will not supplicate the law, or Justice, but personally takes his own account, and when he hasn't the force, proceeds through the intermediation of others of the same mind. []
  4. To combat efficaciously la Mafia, we mustn't transform it into a monster nor think it an octopus or a cancer. We must admit that it is rather familiar. []
Category: Trilematograf
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11 Responses

  1. Acuma blogul ii despre recenzii de filme?

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    Apai ca si-antan, ii despre ce-am io chef sa scriu ziua aia.

  3. Comunque, la mafia, che si riteneva prodotta da una società contadina arretrata e miserabile, quale quella siciliana, radicandosi e prosperando nella società americana, ad alto livello d’industrializzazione e a un grado di benessere il più alto del mondo, si rivelò fenomeno più complesso e vitale: un sistema analogo al sistema capitalistico.

    ~ Leonardo Sciascia.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    4
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 21 May 2016

    Was just talking with a friend about how lulzy the Mafia-butthurt of Italian commies/socialists/etatists is. Like hyenas smelling wolf, quite exactly, their hair stands on end.

    Not without reason, either, it's historically been pretty much the only thing to efficiently combat socialism, "human rights", "peace movement", universalism, etatism and what other countless demons of modernity ; and also survive.

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